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The 1933 Nazi manifesto on artistic and cultural policy demanded that ‘sculptures that are offensive to the national sensibility and yet still desecrate public squares and parks should disappear as quickly as possible, regardless of whether these works were created by ‘geniuses’ like Lehmbruck or Barlach.’ Several of Barlach’s war memorials were removed from churches in 1937. The Avenger had been made at the beginning of the First World War, when Barlach was a nationalist, and represents the unstoppable force of the German army. A later wooden version was confiscated by the Nazis.

July 2008